first-time novelist

Discovering Your Process

Finding Your Way As you write each day, you discover your own process. You begin to see there is no “right way” to create and that your objective is simply to let the story live. The first draft is a ...
trusting the process

Trusting the Process

Be open to possibilities When I wrote my first novel Diamond Dogs, I had the idea that my hero, a high school senior, gets rid of the body. He accidentally kills a kid while driving late one night on ...
Take Risks

Take Risks – Advice for First-Time Writers

“In order to share one’s true brilliance one initially has to risk looking like a fool.” – Criss Jami Writing your first story is sort of like, well . . . there’s a first time for ...

Developing Your Writing Technique

  Technique develops over time. By reading and writing, we absorb a sense of story structure, cadence, and rhythm; we learn how to create and release tension. We deepen our relationship to our ...
what happens next

What Happens Next?

The first step in creating a fully alive story is imagining the world. This simply means envisioning your characters in relation to each other and asking, “What happens next?” With each ...

How Do I Begin?

“How do I begin?” The process of story creation is mysterious. Where do our story ideas come from? From where do our characters emerge? At their core, our stories are born out of an ...

Writing Without Distraction

You’ve begun working in earnest. The story is alive, your cylinders are firing. You’re getting up every morning and putting in the hours. But then, something happens. Life delivers a distraction, and ...

Creativity is Your Birthright

Creativity is your birthright. We live in a culture that is invested in our believing otherwise. I frequently hear folks talk of talent as though it were a finite commodity that one either possessed ...

A Pencil for Christmas

So many of my students and potential students come to me wanting to know how to get published and produced. They want their work to be read, to be seen. But what they really want is for themselves to ...

The Bestseller: Process, Not Result

“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” – Vincent Van Gogh Here’s a story: About ten years ago I was speaking to a potential student on the ...

Finishing Your Story: 5 Tips to Get You to the End

For all you writers struggling somewhere in the middle of your manuscript, here are five tips to get you to the end. 1) Create a deadline for yourself. Think of a practical timeframe to complete your ...

The Difference Between Journaling and Storytelling

The difference between journaling and storytelling is context. Journaling is simply documenting what happened. Storytelling involves illustrating the meaning of what happened. Our goal as storytellers ...

Setting a Daily Word Count

Here’s some advice for first time writers on setting a daily word count. Consistency is the key. Set a writing goal. Can you write 750 to 1000 words a day? If you can do that, you will have a ...

The 90-Day Memoir – Intimacy Hangover

In the first day of The 90-Day Memoir workshop the writers often have some major insights and revelations. But it is the second day that things start to get interesting. Here’s an excerpt from my Day ...

Begin Your Story

There are as many ways to begin your story as there are ways to procrastinate. Beginning to write your book or screenplay is easier than you think. All you have to do is sit down, get out a sheet of ...

The End of the Story Informs the Beginning

In Steven Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he states: “Begin with the end in mind.” For first-time writers, this is helpful advice. But let’s clarify. When we talk about “the ...

3 Secrets for Getting Started on Writing Your First Novel

Every writer struggles with getting the story from imagination to the page. The first-time novelist confronts the special challenge of having never done this before. Here are three quick tips to help ...

Shedding the Idea for Truth in Writing

It’s not just first-time novelists or screenwriters that struggle with getting their story from the imagination to the page. Every writer struggles with this. Here’s the thing: Our idea of our story ...

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